The 1979 Eurovision Song Contest in Israel saw the victory of that year's home entry, Hallelujah, perfomed by Gali Atari and Milk & Honey. Not many people know that another band was supposed to perfom that song- not other than Habibi, the national entrants to the 1981 contest. The original recording of the song by Habibi is now revealed.
IBA's radio station Reshet Gimmel will broadcast this Friday a progarmme with the Israeli group Habibi (better known to the Israeli public as Hakol Over Habibi), which will tell the story of the band that was quite popular in the 1980's. The programme will also reveal a story not many people know of: Habibi were supposed to perform the song Hallelujah, which eventually won the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest, on home grounds, in Jerusalem.
In 1978 composer Kobi Oshrat submitted Hallelujah, performed by Habibi, to the national Eurovision final, which back then was the Hebrew Song Festival. The song was rejected. Yizhar Cohen won the national final that year with Abanibi, and went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest in Paris. In 1979 Habibi and Oshrat were about to submit the song once again, but that didn't happen eventually. A few months before the 1979 national final the lead singer of Habibi, Shlomit Aharon (pictured), got severely electrified during the band's show. After being treated on stage Shlomit was resuscitated and out of life danger. Because of that incident and internal conflicts within the band, Habibi declined and did not perform Hallelujah in that year's national final. They would later regret this decision.
Hallelujah, performed byGali Atari and Milk & Honey, won the national final and the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem. The song became one of Eurovision's most known and popular songs and a worldwide hit. Atari also performed part of the song in the Eurovision Song Contets's anniversary show, Congratulations, last October. Atari went on to become one of Israel's best loved singers.
In 1981 Habibi won the national final, Kdam-Eurovision, with Halaila. The band represented Israel in Dublin while Shlomit Aharon was pregnant andreached the 7th place. Later on the band split up allowing Shlomit to develope quite a successful solo career.
During the programme on IBA's radion this Friday, the original recording of Hallelujah by Habibi will be braodcast for the very first time, a real treat for Eurovision fans.